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Water Myths Debunked: Things You Thought You Knew About Water

Water is essential for survival – a hydration level drop of just 1-2% leads to fatigue, intense thirst, and cognitive impairment. It’s imperative to stay hydrated to maintain your optimal health. Because water is so connected to our well-being, many misconceptions about this precious resource have arisen. Being armed with facts will give you a more accurate understanding of the role drinking water plays in your life and will help keep you and your family healthy, happy, and hydrated.

Below we debunk some of the most enduring myths about water:

Water Myth: Drink Eight Glasses of Water Per Day

We all know the old adage. But is this scientifically sound? The bottled water industry sure wants you to think so, as bottled water outsold sodas and soft drinks nationwide in 2017 for the first time. But your recommended amount of daily water consumption is based on several factors, including your weight and your exercise routine. Use our hydration calculator to get a more accurate number, and to be safe, consult your primary care doctor.

The “eight glasses a day” myth came from a 1945 recommendation by the U.S. Food and Nutrition Board, an organization that overlooked the fact that much of our daily water intake comes from food. That’s right — the recommended hydration level for each person can come from a combination of fruits, greens, soup, tea, coffee, and other food items in addition to good ol’ H2O.

Water Myth: Water Is a Cure-All

There are many unsubstantiated health benefits attributed to drinking more water. These include water’s ability to remove toxins, clear up your skin, and help you lose weight. The claims of water “flushing out” harmful chemicals in your body or directly causing smoother, healthier skin have little scientific evidence. The Journal of the American Society of Nephrology states that, “There is no clear evidence or benefit from drinking increased amounts of water… in fact, there is simply a lack of evidence in general.”

According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, water can lead to weight loss if it’s used as a replacement for sugary, calorie-filled drinks like soda. Water does not have any calories, but also does not have any inherent qualities that help you lose weight.

Water Myth: Other Options Are Healthier Than Water

Water is the healthiest drink option in most cases, as it has no additives or calories. Contrary to the pervading water myth, coconut water is not a better drink for recovery than plain water. If fact, the potassium levels in coconut water can be dangerous for people with kidney disorders, and there is no evidence that coconut water is more replenishing than filtered tap water after a strenuous workout.

In addition, sports drinks enhanced with electrolytes shouldn’t be your first choice after a workout. You may need to reintroduce electrolytes into your system after exercise, but popular sports drinks often contain elevated levels of high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and sugar. These compounds can increase your blood sugar and cause diabetes long-term. Stick to water.

Water Myth: Tea and Coffee Will Dehydrate You

Caffeinated beverages like tea and coffee don’t dehydrate you. While caffeine is a mild diuretic, there is enough water content in your cup of coffee to counteract the effects of caffeine. However, if you’re taking energy supplements or drinking energy drinks, these can cause you to become dehydrated.

Water Myth: You Can’t Overhydrate

You definitely can overhydrate, especially if you’re a first-time runner. Drinking too much water can lower the amount of sodium and electrolytes in your body, causing a condition called hyponatremia. In this state you can pass out or become confused, and in extreme cases, even die. Do your research before you lace up!

Water Myth: Urine Indicates Your Hydration Level

Your urine color isn’t an exact indicator of how hydrated you are. The color of your urine could be darker if you’re consuming lots of protein or taking multivitamins, even if you are drinking enough water. Instead of using urine color as a guide, consider how often you’re going to the bathroom – if it’s only a handful of times per day, you should drink more water.

Water Myth: Bottled Water is Safer

Now we come to the biggest myth of them all. Many consumers believe that bottled water is safer than tap water. The Food and Drug Administration technically regulates bottled water, but more than one-third of tested bottled water violates industry standards for water quality. With bottled water, you will only know if you are exposed to contaminants after a breaking news story.

On the other hand, tap water is frequently tested and monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure public health, but when contaminants are detected there are systems in place to alert local residents.

The safest option for contaminant-free hydration is to stick to tap water and install a filtration system in your home. A water filter provides safer, cleaner, more refreshing water right from your tap. Stay hydrated throughout the day without consuming unwanted contaminants by utilizing a Pelican Water filter system.